CNN alleges that Russia used Pokemon Go to try to spread dissent in the USA

It always gets a bit bumpy when politics, international intrigue, and video games collide, so hold on for this one.

According to CNN, Russia’s Internet Research Agency — an organization devoted to create unrest in the USA — tapped into Pokemon Go as a way to do this. How could this be? Apparently, the agency ran a contest on a site in 2016 that encouraged supporters of Black Lives Matter to hunt down Pokemon near sites of police brutality and to even change their character names to victims.

It seems dubious whether the “Don’t Shoot Us” campaign and contest had any effect on players or interfered with politics. CNN couldn’t find anyone who actually participated in it, and the campaign’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have all since been suspended.

Source: CNN via The Verge. Thanks Sally!
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44 Comments on "CNN alleges that Russia used Pokemon Go to try to spread dissent in the USA"

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NeoWolf

Whoever would have guessed that Russia was actually Team Rocket.. im shocked! SHOCKED I tell you!

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kgptzac

One thing I admit though is that the line sounds very good and fun in a tweet.

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rafael12104

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

So, from what we know, I wouldn’t put it past the Russians to try something like this. How, exactly, it would impact the American electorate is much more nebulous to me.

It seems to me that this is an example of how CNN in particular is covering stories that they otherwise wouldn’t have covered if Trump wasn’t in office. If true, yeah, it is news, but there are other more egregious and impactful examples of Russian meddling.

I’m not a huge fan of CNN or the media for that matter, but IMO, the “Fake News” moniker has really stuck with these organizations. It has made them insecure. And now, everything seems to be newsworthy because if they don’t cover it some blogger or competitor will.

Most stories aren’t fake, but most stories don’t have to be polarizing either. The news is so damn political it keeps me grasping for those things that aren’t.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

It had nothing to do with impacting the American electorate, and the American electorate isn’t brought up in this article or CNN. This is “an organization devoted to create unrest in the US”. So it was about stirring up trouble, creating unrest in the USA. It wasn’t about Trump or the electorate.

I guess to some people all roads lead to Trump or they see Trump stories where none exist :P Yes it had Russians messing with the US over the Internet, but had nothing to do with elections. This is just them trying to screw with the USA and create trouble and unrest. This is just one of the times they were caught, they’re doing this kind of stuff constantly. It’s sad that sometimes the conspiracy theorists are right and this garbage really has to happen…

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A Dad Supreme

“So, from what we know, I wouldn’t put it past the Russians to try something like this. How, exactly, it would impact the American electorate is much more nebulous to me.”
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Agree.

I think the Russian’s strategy was on both sides; the pro-Trump side and the anti-Trump side. They went into these sites in an attempt to stir up both sides against each other with the trolling and fake stories.

As we know from this site, whenever a troll pops up saying untrue or inflammatory things about a game, dev or company, they will immediately have someone respond either in a positive way (agreeing) or negative way (disagreeing).

The only hope we have to filter them out is the MO staff and hope that they aren’t hung over from the night before.

I think the Russian strategy was more of a Chinese water torture of information; a ‘drip, drip, drip’ stream of fake and real, in the hopes that it will paralyze the American voting process into apathy in some circles and outrage in others.

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Armsbend

I do not believe their endgame is to influence the electorate as much as it to create rifts in the American psyche – which they have had success.

For most of our history we’ve had common enemies and our unifying resolve has always been above politics. Now, the script is completely flipped. People genuinely hate each other over politics. The Russian’s are exploiting that. Either for a military attack or disrupt US influence. The latter has probably already been achieved to a great degree.

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A Dad Supreme

“I do not believe their endgame is to influence the electorate as much as it to create rifts in the American psyche – which they have had success.”
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100% agree. I’m sure Putin realized he didn’t have to actually get a dotard elected; that was a bonus for him. I believe his goal was just to put enough doubt in the process that both sides would be disenchanted no matter who won. If you get people to doubt their system, then it can self-defeat itself from within.

It’s like the old adage in reverse: Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, you’ll never have to feed him again.

By “teaching” the US doubt about it’s election system, he’s taught many Americans who had faith in the system to distrust everything associated with it. I doubt this past election actually inspired anyone regarding the process.

I think the Pokemon stuff was just part of a wider “throw it on the wall and see what sticks” on a secondary front of people who possibly don’t visit political sites or watch the news on a regular basis, but know just enough to pick a side.

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Serrenity

My sense is that Russia understands the power of rhetoric / cultural acts like this. I think the main takeaway here is that if you look at this in pure isolation, then impact is pretty minor and seems silly. BUT if you put in context of the larger movement of what was going on in the world/US, I think this impacted the net perception, which is really what I think the Russians were going for. It’s the same with the Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Twitter Ads — the impact from any one of those facets is probably negligible by itself, but media / culture / perception operates under the whole being far, far greater than the sum of it’s parts.

As for the critique on the “Fake Media,” anecdotally, I think it’s done much more to drive people TO those venues than away. But *shrug* could just be me on that. I switched to watching MSNBC pretty exclusively. I used to watch CNN, but it started feeling a little too confrontational.

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Sleepy

“an organization devoted to create unrest in the USA”

I thought that was the White House.

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rafael12104

Must admit. This made me chuckle. Lol

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A Dad Supreme

Bellsprout in Chief.

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Armsbend

The have been incredibly successful – something they could never accomplish during the cold war. The country that invented the internet will find it to be the country’s undoing.

God if a government paid me to cause unrest…I’d be the richest and most successful troll on earth.

pepperzine
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pepperzine

Sounds like you need to get that job search going!

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MesaSage

#nottheOnion.

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TheDonDude

That screenshot is creepy.

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

Honestly, female Wobbuffet is my nightmare. Pink really isn’t her color, especially with that uncomfortable look on her face.

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rafael12104

Wait, it’s female? Or is it male because it is blue? Nvm. It doesn’t matter.

But, you know it’s name? Hmm. Andrew, are you a closet Pokefan?

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

I’m guessing you’ve never noticed who writes most of the PoGO long-form articles ;P

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rafael12104

I am now. Lol

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Utakata

…it makes me want to run off to the little Gnome’s room actually. As it seems to scream “my bladder is full!” :(

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rafael12104

Lol. I don’t know, it looks like he or she is emptying something right there.

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Utakata

/eww :(

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rafael12104

Just calling it like I see it. Lol

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Utakata

The idea of taking something that is subverting to use to strengthen the thing that is being subverted is what is trying to be attempted here? I mean playing agent saboteur is not unheard of, so I am assuming this Internet Research Agency intention had nothing to do with supporting BLM or their plight, but rather using the tools of disenchament to entrench the powers that be and their influence back in Russia? And Pokemon Go, really? /sigh

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McGuffn

No, they want to sow chaos and disagreement in the United States. That’s the objective. This plot seems kind of stupid though, and seems more likely that the objective is to get other people to cover it.

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Ket Viliano

Russia has nothing to do with any of this.

It is the US Establishment that is afraid of losing control to populists, either left wing like Sanders, or right wing like Trump. Divide and conquer is how the Establishment has kept us under control, trying to play us off of each other. They are not able to keep the illusion going any longer, which is why they are in a panic.

I am not at all sure why so many people think the mass media tells the truth about anything.

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Utakata

I am sorta saying that in a roundabout and perhaps convoluted way. The end of day though, the powers that be in Russia start to look stronger and more stable. I think it can be reasonably agreed that effect is likely working as intended.

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Jack Pipsam

I couldn’t make this stuff up even if I wanted too.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

.

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Melissa McDonald

The biggest lie of all is that the press has ever been impartial. Journalism is by definition biased and filtered through the eyes and mind of the reporter.

Read some of Mark Twain’s stories about working for a newspaper…

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Bryan Correll

The biggest problem with the myth of impartial journalism is that so many journalists seem to actually believe it. They let their opinions color their reporting without even realizing that they are doing it. Take your mention of Dan Rather below as an example. He (and plenty of other at CBS) never properly examined the documents that were the entire basis of their story. His pre-existing opinions about GWB made him blind to any of the obvious problems with the story. I think he genuinely believed everything was legitimate because it all fit with his personal views. True believers are way more dangerous than knowing frauds.

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Major Glitch

This is why normal people get their news from multiple sources.

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Vexia

Except there’s an increasing amount of “journalistic” copy & pasting going on, no fact-checking necessary. But there are still good or decent outlets out there, it’s just a matter of being careful.

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Armsbend

That doesn’t make this story not true.

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Simon F

The news are never impartial. That’s why you should check various news sites. Only then will you get a fragment of the truth. Although there are journalists who are genuinely neutral, but their content often gets filtered and edited by the company they work for.

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Ket Viliano

At this point, some one should have already mentioned Seymour Hersh, so I will. Look him up, his stuff is all longform, but rather well detailed if you have the time.

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/25/seymour-hersh-blasts-media-for-uncritically-promoting-russian-hacking-story/

https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/seymour-m-hersh

Or just do your own search, there is a lot more out there.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

It’s why scientific articles require peer review.

It’s why people should use varied and numerous sources of news to get their information not just a few or just one.

Because if you only get your news from one source, how would you know if they are lying to you?

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Mewmew
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Mewmew

That goes for everything on the Internet. There have always been those people who read one article and take it as fact without doing the backup research of verification from multiple sources. The Internet has been full of both great information instantaneously and misinformation at the same speed. There’s a big difference between reading something online, and verifying that something is true from multiple sources.

Ugh I forget what else I was going to say too many people around me talking :P

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

it’s stuff like this, behaviour like this by mainstream media outlets in the US that feeds into trump’s fake news narrative and derision of the first ammendment.

and let’s be clear folks, your shitty opinions are every bit as protected as the shitty opinions you dislike by that first amendment, and without it you’d just as likely end up a political prisoner or in a re-education camp without it.

and yes your politicial opinions are probably pretty shitty too. so are mine apparently.

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Utakata

I think the phenomenon of fake news long existed before Trump co-opted its use it to cover his as..I mean, for his narrative. But that’s probably a subject for another day. o.O

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dm_jim80

Maybe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

Also, remember folks! If something supports your pre-existing opinions/beliefs/etc, it must be true!

Is it something counter to the same? Clearly ‘fake news,’ that darn poppycock!

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Utakata

I think yellow journalism was more about skewing the facts to support the prevailing opinions. Not sure it was about making news of the fictitious for influencing opinions. However, I am pretty sure “making stuff up” is the next evolutionary step on the road to misinformation from said journalism.

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Melissa McDonald

Oh that happened years ago when Dan Rather ruined his entire career and reputation by stubbornly clinging to a document he claimed was from the 70s, but was determined to have been created in Microsoft Word and printed on an inkjet printer.

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Tithian

You remember Dan Rather because he was the exception, and as you said this ruined his career. Nowadays being Dan is the norm.

Yellow journalism was always about gossip and hearsay, but it relied on something actually happening first and then using it as a stepping stone to smear. Now the press has dropped all pretenses.

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